Sunday, September 2, 2012

"Hey, Fat Girl!"--and if you're a heavy person exercising in public, feeling eyes on you, read this...

Seriously, READ THIS.  It's fabulous.

Read it especially if you're AFRAID to go out there and move cause you're 200, 250, 300,, 350 or plus...pounds.

I know firsthand how hard it is to move when the body is burdened with fat. I got to 300 lbs.

And I know what it's like to be morbidly obese and walk into a Pilates studio full of fit, slim folks--and in my case, MODELS, bona fide "in national magazines" models. Me, at 280 lbs, ungracefully climbing on and off equipment like a drunk turtle, huffing and puffing, oozing sweat, while sleek dancers and models elegantly "glowed" in their slim splendor and mutant beauty all around me, yeah, me with my size 4x workout wear. Yep, FOUR X. I had to mail order it, cause Sports Authority and places didn't have those sizes. (Click Phat Pilates tab up under the blog header to see some pics taken after I'd been doing Pilates a bit.)

But I did it. It took me months to work up the nerve, but my desire to get healthier overcame all shame, embarrassment, and fear.

I started walking regularly while still obese. At 240 or so pounds. It was hard. I could barely manage 10 minutes without pain in my feet and knees, without feeling a bit woozy.

But I did it.

In time, bit by bit, I could go faster and farther and longer.

And then, little by little, I got props--from the trainers, fellow exercisers, neighbors seeing me walk and get slimmer month by month, family members, my husband, who noticed I could keep up with him when we went out and had to walk blocks...and not feel like I had to sit down and gasp.

I think some small-minded folks will always ridicule those of us who are big and trying to be less big when we hit the streets or the gym. The idiots abound in every society.

But the kind folks are out there, too. Folks who will high five and thumbs-up a large person, male or female, making the effort. Folks who will give you a second wind just with a smile of approval.

 I make it a point --and did back then--to encourage my fellow fatties (and I say that with empathy and affection) in our exercise efforts. A thumbs up. A smile. A word or phrase to say, "I notice you and you are fabulous."

Remember that if you're NOT big, if you're out and see a hefty person on a bike, or out for a walk or jog, or trying to work a gym machine: It takes courage for them to go and do that. On top of that courage, it's physically taxing in ways non-fat people cannot imagine. The thighs that rub hard together, the feet can overpronate. Bending over can be quite an effort, or not possible. The extra effort to just MOVE, the painful joints...all these things are obstacles one has to overcome to keep going. It takes guts to breathe hard, sweat, jiggle, and wear revealing workout wear in public.

If you haven't gone out there to MOVE out of shame or fear, I say this, and you should say it, too: Screw the idiots and screw the shame. GONNA DO IT FOR ME!

And if you're doing it: God bless you and keep at it. You're gonna feel the change.

Hey, Fat Girl. Hey, Fat Guy. Listen up.  Keep moving forward. You rock!

And when I was morbidly obese and exposing myself to the eyes of dancers and models and skinny joggers in my neighborhood, I rocked. I rock when I don't let the creeps get me down. When I do it for my good and for the good of those who love me and want me to have a long life.

You're heroic, big person moving it out there where eyes can see every jiggle and limp. Keep walking, running, moving. Don't let any critics make you stop!

I bow to you, too!


PlumPetals said...

Love this post!
You're absolutely right. It takes a lot of nerve and I think a lot of people (usually those who have always been thin) don't realize how much courage it takes. I always tell myself - don't think of it as being a fat person on an exercise machine. Think of it as a determined person on an exercise machine. Keep at it and everything else will fall into place.

downsizers said...

Great article. I think there are mean spirited people out there for sure but I also think a lot of the recrimination comes from within and from our imagination. We are self-conscious. We have to overcome our concerns about how we look with our desire to be better. We all need to make more of an effort to encourage those who are obviously self-conscious exercising in public places.

Norma said...

The thing about the gym is: using "people might judge me" is an excuse not to go. For the most part, it's a completely unfounded fear; as you said, trainers and other gym-users alike are overwhelmingly supportive and encouraging...and if some jerk does judge you for daring to exercise in public while being overweight (a nonsensical judgment if ever there was one), WHO CARES? Conversely, in the past several years since I've lost weight and become a "gym rat," I have met a lot of "heavier" or fat people who assume that I have always been fit/athletic and who make insulting comments about how it's "not fair" or think that I eat whatever I want and still stay "skinny." When I share the short version of my 65lb weight loss, the truth about my strict clean diet and daily exercise, then I get the "Diet and exercise just don't work for me" or "I could never give up (soda) (chocolate) (fried chicken) (pizza)!" or "I don't have time to exercise."

prairieprincess said...

Amen, amen, and amen! Thank you for pointing me to the "Fat Girl" post, and your excellent encouragement.

NewMe said...

All the instructors at the Pilates studio where I go are very slim, except one woman who is built like a brick sh*thouse. She carries herself with beauty and grace and she has lots of clients. Fitness comes in all sizes.

Joy said...

Great post!! It does take a lot of courage to get out there!! I too give high 5's and encouragement to others. I know how hard it is.

Keep up the great work and stay focused!!!

Val said...

I was proud of myself for walking into posh yoga studio yesterday when they were offering "FREE day of yoga!"...
But I liked the instructor & ended up purchasing "sale coupons": 4 classes for $20 for the month of Sept. Even if I only make a couple more classes, it will be worthwhile.
(I hope to make a more consistent habit of it when I am waiting for my son to get out of FB practice)

Julie said...

Good evening Mir. Just stopping by to check in and say hi.
Hope that life has settled down and you are writing some amazing stories. Hope hubs is enjoying his new job.
Take care and have a blessed weekend!